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How your Spouse can help you

 To:     Spouses of CareerCare members


From:  Bill Brewer, Director

St. Andrew CareerCare Ministry




Our ministry recognizes that a career transition can be difficult on the spouse as well as the job seeker. We wish to provide both spouses with hope, support, and practical ways to ease the challenges of the transition.



Attached Guides


Attached are two guides for your review, which include ways for you to help your mate:


  • Spouse Orientation to CareerCare: describes what the job-seeker is learning/applying in this program, and ways for you to contribute effectively
  • Helping Your Spouse Get a Job: Strategies for Spouse Teamwork


We encourage you to set some quiet time aside to review these guides and find the right time to talk with your mate.


We look forward to meeting you at the orientation, and our prayers are with you and your family for a successful career transition.





Bill Brewer


Spouse’s Orientation


St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Plano

972.380.8001 (Director: Bill Brewer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 214-291-8082)


Spouses: This is a shortened summary of the program your partner is involved in, and includes activities that you, as a spouse, may be of help with (in bold).


Mission:  Career Care is a faith-based ministry sponsored by St. Andrew UMC to assist those in job/career transition with support and how to improve job search skills.


CareerCare is a free, weekly support/coaching  group, open to the DFW community and all religions. Career Care provides comprehensive support to help those who are out of work or "mis-employed" and seeking a career change.


CareerCare uses the Crossroads Career Explorer Guide to teach job search skills, based on 6 steps to a successful job/career search, and you should download it free:

1. ATTITUDE              Accepting loss and opportunity

2. APTITUDE             Discovering your unique qualities

3. ALTITUDE             Focusing on the marketplace

4. SEARCHING          Finding opportunities

5. SORTING               Interviewing and evaluating

6. SELECTING           Walking in the work God has prepared for you

The first three steps are planning the work—ATTITUDE, APTITUDE, and ALTITUDE.

The final three steps are working the plan—SEARCHING, SORTING, and SELECTING.


Each topic is presented at our meetings on a rotation that repeats each topic about once every eight  weeks. You can attend any week; you don’t have to start with Step 1.


Step 1: ATTITUDE – Accepting Loss and Opportunity


Your attitude is very important. A lot of people, when they go through something as distressing as losing a job, have a difficult time getting a handle on their feelings and attitude. We suggest that you first stop and thank God for all that you have. You have friends, family and a community to support you. When God closes a door, he opens a window; you just need to look around and feel the breeze and see the light. So, a little prayer and belief is the first thing that you need to work on. This will help with your attitude.


There is a process that people go through when they are experiencing something as stressful as a job transition. The acronym SARA (Sorrow, Anger, Rejection and Acceptance) covers what you will be experiencing. Your emotions, and those of the loved ones around you, will be going up and down. It is important to understand this and get a handle on it. If you are having serious problems with it, get some help. The Church offers counselors, and the help is available to all, not only members of St. Andrew. You have to have an ending to have a beginning.


Exercises to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 18 -21: Attitude adjustment


Now is the also time to get yourself organized. Set up a routine and weekly activity plan for yourself. An example is in our Yahoo Group files titled “MAN plan”.



Step 2: APTITUDE – Discovering Your Unique Qualities


Life Inventory – Get Vision

Write out where you are in life and what is important to you. Get with your spouse and have them help you with this exercise.


Value and Skills Inventory

St. Andrew offers a career assessment program CareerDirect.  A comprehensive report helps you assess your career options.  Please contact the CareerCare coordinator.  Test description is at

Exercise to do: Crossroad Career Explorer guide, pg 25 – 30: Self-assessment; Spouse Assessment input pg 28.


STEP 3: ALTITUDE – Focusing on the Marketplace


Identify Opportunity Targets

Listed below are six specific questions to answer that will help you consider and communicate what targets of opportunity you would like to explore:


Occupations – job functions / the work you do – probably what you do best and like/value most?

Industries – where you work – types of employers or customers you seek to serve?

Location – where you want or feel called to live and work?

Compensation – how much you earn – salary, total cash compensation, benefits?

Platforms – work as an employee, independent contractor, your own business, volunteer?

Culture – what are the operating values important to you in an organization?


Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 44: Focusing the Targets


30 Second Commerical and Tag Line

If you had only 30 seconds to tell me about yourself, what would it be? We will teach you how to use this tool in networking. It is the value statement and who and what you want to do.

Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg  48: Create the Commercial


Spouse: Do adapt & communicate your spouse’s 30 second commercial. Develop, practice, and tell everyone your approved version; don’t be embarrassed or prideful.



Resume must show value, benefit and results. Ask spouse or trusted advisor for feedback.

Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 45: Master resume workup.



STEP 4: SEARCHING – Finding opportunities


Your search now moves to finding the opportunities. This is primarily done through Online Searching + On-The-Ground Networking.


Online Searching (internet)

Statistics say that only 5% of jobs are found on the Internet. 85% are found through networking. The Internet is a valuable tool, but don’t overdo the time on it. Learn to set up search engines that will search for jobs automatically. Allocate your time accordingly…stay focused on people relationships

On-the-Ground Networking

This is one of the most important things that you will do in your job search. Networking is going to be a skill you need to develop and it will be something that you will use the rest of your life.

Assemble the entire list of people that you know (people from prior companies, individuals from your past, contacts in associations, etc). It is said that we are just 6 people away from the ability to contact anyone. Use LinkedIn to find people. Spouse and family can help with this.

Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 58 & Yahoo Group files on “Networking”: Creating Networking Lists; and Yahoo Group file on “Finding a job using LinkedIn”.


Contact the Contacts

You are not asking for a job, but inform the person about your situation and ask if they have any suggestions in assisting you.. Do not forget to ask those who are helping you what can you do for them. This should be the first or last thing you say when networking.


Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 54: Script for talking to contacts


Get a business card. Spouse, have your mate’s business card to hand out when appropriate.


Recruiters / Agencies / Job Fairs

Ask friends for referrals and/or use the Kennedy “Red Book” to target recruiters. Use job fairs for networking, not just jobs.


Cold Calling; Correspondence

Make sure that all correspondence is perfect. Spouse may be helpful to proof read.


The aforementioned script on page 54 is helpful, as well as examples of letters / emails in our Yahoo Group files titled “pre-approach letters”.


Web site for North Texas Network Groups: . Also, join LinkedIn and post a resume-quality profile!


STEP 5: SORTING – Interviewing & Evaluating


Do not go into an interview without being prepared. Research the company and the competitors. Ask yourself how you will help the company and the hiring manager. Rehearse key questions with spouse or mentor.

Exercises to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 65-67: Interview Questions


STEP 6: SELECTING – Walking in Work Prepared for You


Select an opportunity that fits your unique qualities, values, and employer’s needs.  Understand fully the job, culture, expectations, compensation, personalities, etc. Discuss with your spouse and trusted advisors.

Exercise to do: Crossroads Career Explorer Guide, pg 74-76: Understanding the Offer and Negotiating Strategies


You may not get the first job you interview for, so you will have to do it all over again. Be patient. Be focused and do not give up. We are there to help you in your job search. Working together we can make it happen


St. Andrew has many resources available to support your needs: financial counseling, emotional counseling, Bible studies, service groups, etc. Please contact the coordinator or church office (214-291-8011).





Helping Your Spouse Get a Job: Strategies for Spouse Teamwork


(thanks to M. DeVinney, L. Harper, CareerBuilder,, et al)


Losing a job is hard on a person’s ego since society equates the job with your identity and worth. Likewise, a job loss for a married person can cause havoc on a marriage if each partner does not provide support.


  1. Start with these questions for yourself:
    1. What is my role?
    2. How can I help?
    3. How does my spouse want me to help?
    4. What are my and my spouse’s fears and anxieties, and how will we manage them?  Listen to your spouse discuss the job loss and what it means as an individual. If the loss was expected, relief may be experienced since the waiting time has been completed. Or, an unexpected loss may cause denial, anger, confusion, and/or loss of identity.
    5. Accept that household roles may change. Respect each other’s contribution whether monetary or physical and remember your spouse’s job loss does not reduce their importance as a family member. Agree on household duties, etc.
  2. Job search is a TEAM deal with spouse: “WE will get thru this together”
    1. Pray together…you are not alone. Philippians 4:6-7 and 11-13
    2. Serenity Prayer (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.)
    3. Faith is at the core…God will make good out of this
    4. Be the “YES” spouse, when the seeker is hearing “No’s” all day long
    5. Lift them UP when they are down
  3. Handling the good intentions of family and friends
    1. Thick skin when others say things that hurt...they mean well…they just don’t know how to go about talking about it, and are usually uncomfortable too.
    2. When someone is “talking at you” about this, nicely turn the conversation around and ask them if they would like to help. Then ask them for a networking contact, etc.
  4. Do’s and Don’ts
    1. Do have a plan and a routine: Develop a plan for finances. Create a daily schedule for the search and respect everyone’s space and needs.
    2. Don’t push or second-guess. Unless asked, resist offering your opinions or point out how your mate should be doing things differently.
    3. Do give encouragement. Boost morale with focus on strengths, achievements, contributions. Help them see what they have to offer a new employer.
    4. Don’t hide it from the kids. Explain in simple terms what has happened. Let them know the family will need to temporarily cut back on expenses. Ask them to find creative ways to cut the budget. Tell them the most important thing is that you love and support each other.

                                                    i.     Give them credit for their potential to understand, help, and be resilient.

                                                  ii.     Communicate and reassure them of their security on the basics

                                                iii.     Offer less expensive “choices” on things not currently affordable; i.e. Switch from hockey to T-ball, rather than just saying “no”.

    1. Do communicate. Talk is a coping tool. Expressing fears and seeking counsel from others is proven to deal with crisis better. When approaching your spouse, pick the right time and know what kind of talk is preferred.
    2. Don’t interrogate. Don’t force your spouse to recount every detail of the day or interview. Ask for highlights or their feelings about an interview. Focus on spouse’s reactions and impressions, not on your need for information.
    3. Do keep an open mind. Consider “bridge” jobs, relocation, longer commute, etc.
    4. Don’t be a catastrophist. Keep a healthy outlook and faith that, if you work as a team, a new job will eventually surface. Expect rejection, but don’t be immobilized by it.
    5. Do have fun. Laugh, hug, and take walks together. Keep the romance alive; i.e. serve dinner for two on the patio, etc.
    6. Don’t keep asking “Have you found anything yet?”. Instead, schedule weekly meetings where your spouse can share progress and bounce thoughts off of you.
    7. Do count your blessings! Focus on what is right in your life and encourage your spouse to do the same. Try to think of this time as a gift and see what you can learn from it. Remember life is not all about work. Keep perspective.
    8. Don’t bottle up your feelings inside.  Find a trusted friend to share your feelings when you need to melt down.
    9. Do adapt & communicate your spouse’s 30 second commercial. Develop, practice, and tell everyone your approved version….networking is critical….don’t be embarrassed or prideful. Carry spouse’s business cards with you for handing out when appropriate.